What Is Dry Drowning? Recognizing the Symptoms

According to health authorities, every day about 10 people in the U.S. from drowning, including the strange phenomenon known as "dry drowning."

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Experts also urge parents to pay attention to their children while swimming. That way, they may be able to see if their children have swallowed water. However, experts say that people do not necessarily have to be in the pool or the sea to swallow water because these types of drownings can occur simply by drinking water too quickly.
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The strange phenomenon known as "dry drowning" affects children across the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, what is dry drowning, and how can it be prevented?
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Dry drowning occurs when a person — usually a child or an elderly person — swallows water that is lodged in the lungs while in a pool, tub or other body of water, which produces a spasm in the throat after the fact.
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An average of 10 deaths in the U.S. each day are due to drowning, according to the CDC.
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In addition to common drowning, doctors distinguish two additional types: the so-called "dry drowning" and something called "secondary drowning." Both are extremely rare but dangerous. Both often affect children, and both can occur long after people have left the water.
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Dry drowning occurs when water is in the mouth or nose and causes the vocal cords to contract, trapping the water, causing the person to suffocate. According to the CDC, drowning is the fifth cause of death as a result of an unintentional act among people of all ages, including "dry drowning."
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The CDC also reported that drowning is the second leading cause of death in cases of accidents or injuries, among children from 1 to 14 years in the U.S., including this phenomenon, where water does not reach the lungs, although in small proportions it can cause an edema. One symptom may be the change of color in the lips or fingers.
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Secondary drowning, on the other hand, intensifies in 24 hours and occurs within individuals of all ages. While parents do not need to take their children to the emergency room every time they swallow a mouthful of water, they must watch for rapid and difficult breathing. Another sign of secondary drowning is lethargy; parents often report that their child is somewhat "turned off."
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The lungs become irritated and begin to fill with fluid, causing breathing problems and coughing, doctors say. The person's behavior can also change. You may feel more fatigued than usual. Doctors say all these are signs of a possible lack of oxygen-flow to the brain.
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The best way to prevent this type of drowning is to teach children to swim, giving them the ability to breathe while they swim without swallowing the water. This in turn helps prevent classic drowning, which is the second leading cause of accidental death in children, according to the CDC.
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Experts also urge parents to pay attention to their children while swimming. That way, they may be able to see if their children have swallowed water. However, experts say that people do not necessarily have to be in the pool or the ocean to swallow water because these types of drownings can occur simply by drinking water too quickly.
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All this does not mean that drinking water is problematic. ''It is the person who continues to cough or who still has trouble breathing for long periods of time. Those people are the ones that worry us," Dr. Paul Horvath of the Mayo Clinic said in a NBC News report.
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A basic but effective recommendation for parents and babysitters is to never leave a small child alone near water, regardless of whether it's a bathtub, pool, pond, lake, hot tub or ocean. Also, take extra precautions and put fences around your pool.
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An accident can happen in a matter of seconds, so caretakers should stay vigilant when children are playing in or near the water.
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